Home to the famous Maya Bay and Monkey Beach, Phi Phi is one of the biggest destinations in Thailand. After the tsunami in 2004, Phi Phi was developed even more than before and for some, it may be overdeveloped and overpriced. Phi Phi is a big party island full of shopping, taxi boats, hotels, clubs and bars but if you stay in the North, it is a lot quieter but more expensive! Here’s a short guide on things to do, where to stay and how to get there!
Things to do:
Phi Phi Viewpoint
The walk up to the viewpoint consists of a lot of steps and trails and if it’s sunny, it can be quite tough so you have to be reasonably fit to get up there. We were both feeling weak as we were recovering from being ill but we made it up there without any problems. There’s a restaurant on top if you want to cool down or get a drink. The 20/30-minute walk up to the viewpoint is rewarded by an amazing view of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le.
Made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film, ‘The Beach’, Maya Bay is on Koh Phi Leh, which is included in the island snorkelling trips. There are several day/half day trips that will take you island hopping. We didn’t manage to do one of these trips as we were both really ill during our stay. Surrounded by 100m high cliffs on three sides, Maya Bay is crowded with tourists, which takes away the sheer beauty of the island. As we stayed in low season, Maya Bay was closed for a few months to allow to island to recover from the hoards of tourists. Tours start from around THB600 (£15).
During our stay, we stayed in Viking Nature Resort, which is a 5-minute walk from Long Beach, a much quieter beach. However, from the main/touristy beach of Phi Phi, it is a 40-minute walk away but it’s definitely worth it! Long beach has beautiful white sand and clear water, even better for swimming than the main beach. Behind the beach are plenty of resorts and restaurants (some of which were closed when we stayed in low season).
With pristine white sand and aqua blue waters, Bamboo Island is a tiny remote island, which is a lot quieter than Maya Bay. To escape the crowded beaches of Tonsai and Maya Bay, you can rent a long tail boat for three hours for about THB1500 (£38).
How to get there:
There are ferries from Krabi and Phuket and depending on the season, they run at different times throughout the day. In low season, they run a ferry from Krabi at 9am and 1pm. It takes about 2 hours and costs about THB400 (£10) each way. Once you get to the pier at Phi Phi Don, you have to pay at THB20 (£0.50) environmental tax fee, which helps the locals keep the island clean and beautiful. There are no cars on the island so unless your accommodation provides pick up and drop off, you’ll have to make your own way with your luggage.
Where to stay:
We stayed at Viking Nature Resort for 3-nights because it had good reviews online, it was affordable and had its own private beach. They picked us up and dropped us off to the pier for free on their hotel long-tail boat. The basic rooms were small but very nice, cultural and well equipped. The resort was in a quieter part of the island and the private beach was lovely as well as having Long Beach around the corner. The island has plenty of good hostels for solo travellers as well.